Monsoons: Wet, Dry, Repeat...

  • Released Thursday, June 23, 2016

The monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that occurs over South Asia (among other places). Through NASA satellites and models we can see the monsoon patterns like never before. Monsoon rains provide important reservoirs of water that sustain human activities like agriculture and supports the natural environment through replenishment of aquifers. However, too much rainfall routinely causes disasters in the region, including flooding of the major rivers and landslides in areas of steep topography.

This visualization uses a combination of NASA satellite data and models to show how and why the monsoon develops over this region. In the summer the land gets hotter, heating the atmosphere and pulling in cooler, moisture-laden air from the oceans. This causes pulses in heavy rainfall throughout the region. In the winter the land cools off and winds move towards the warmer ocean and suppressing rainfall on land.

The monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that occurs over South Asia (among other places). Through NASA satellites and models we can see the monsoon patterns like never before.

The monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that occurs over South Asia (among other places). Through NASA satellites and models we can see the monsoon patterns like never before.

The monsoon rains provide important reservoirs of water, including increased soil moisture, which sustains human activities like agriculture and supports the natural environment.

The monsoon rains provide important reservoirs of water, including increased soil moisture, which sustains human activities like agriculture and supports the natural environment.

Too much rain is a trigger for flooding. Notice the floods snaking down rivers in the region.

Too much rain is a trigger for flooding. Notice the floods snaking down rivers in the region.

Landslides can be triggered when extreme rainfall intersects topography; this is especially prevalent during the monsoon season.

Landslides can be triggered when extreme rainfall intersects topography; this is especially prevalent during the monsoon season.

In the summer, moisture-laden winds blow towards Asia from the ocean, carrying rainfall. In the winter, dry winds blow away from the continent.

In the summer, moisture-laden winds blow towards Asia from the ocean, carrying rainfall. In the winter, dry winds blow away from the continent.

In the summer the land gets hotter, heating the atmosphere and pulling in cooler air from the oceans. In the winter the land cools off and winds move towards the warmer ocean. Notice that there is a day-night temperature difference that varies around the seasonal averages.

In the summer the land gets hotter, heating the atmosphere and pulling in cooler air from the oceans. In the winter the land cools off and winds move towards the warmer ocean. Notice that there is a day-night temperature difference that varies around the seasonal averages.

MERRA surface temperatures color bar (blue, green, yellow, red)range: 243.15 to 283.15 Kelvin

MERRA surface temperatures color bar (blue, green, yellow, red)

range: 243.15 to 283.15 Kelvin

GPM/IMERG liquid precipitation color bar (green, yellow, red)ranges: 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 10, 20, 50   mm/hr

GPM/IMERG liquid precipitation color bar (green, yellow, red)

ranges: 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 10, 20, 50 mm/hr

GPM/IMERG frozen precipitation color bar (cyan, blue, magenta)ranges: 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 10, 20, 50   mm/hr

GPM/IMERG frozen precipitation color bar (cyan, blue, magenta)

ranges: 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 10, 20, 50 mm/hr

Global Flood Monitoring System color bar (transparent, blue, magenta)ranges:  0., 0.0, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 9999

Global Flood Monitoring System color bar (transparent, blue, magenta)

ranges: 0., 0.0, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 9999



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:07 AM EST.


Missions

This visualization is related to the following missions:

Datasets used in this visualization

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